musically informed

Two of the very first songs i remember hearing and liking were “Come and Get It” by Badfinger and “Gotta See Jane” by R. Dean Taylor.

My very  first album, was a K-Tel album called “Out of Sight”. I saw it advertised on TV and got it for my birthday one year. My sister got a portable turntable (we called them “record players” back then) for christmas. I’m pretty sure i used that turntable more than she did. I played that album on her record player hundreds of times. The K-Tel album that came after that was called “Sounds Spectacular” and i played that hundreds of times also. Interesting to note that the Canadian versions of those albums had a much better track listing than the U.S. versions. Probably because of the Canadian content that legally had to be used.

I will do a K-Tel blog at some point because there are 3 of them that heavily influenced my musical choices.

These albums were my introduction to the world of pop/rock music. I had a friend who lived a few doors down who was heavily into Black Sabbath, another friend from school opened my eyes to ZZ Top, Rod Stewart, and KISS.

Friends of my sister’s made sure I heard my share of Donny Osmond, Bay City Rollers, and Leif Garrett (all the guys i knew said “leaf” but we’d get shouted down with “IT’S LAYFE” . The girls were vehement about it) . I already had a Partridge Family album, so i was covered there.

In shop class, I was hit with bad air/voice guitar versions of Nazareth songs (This Flight  Tonight, and Deep Purple (uh, Smoke on the Water).

the local community TV channel did a dj radio thing on friday nights from 8pm to midnight, and I heard Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin”, Robin Trower’s “Bridge of Sighs”. In the space of four short years i got a musical education.

All of that was when i lived in Shilo, Manitoba (like i said in an earlier blog, my formative years 🙂 )

When you are an army brat and you move, you get to start your new life with no friends in a place you don’t know and maybe don’t even like. For me i was able to compensate with lots of reading and listening to the radio. and i was lucky to be able to hit that record store i mentioned (Used Grooves) , so my album collection started to grow.

A soon to be friend moved in across  the street and he had an extensive record collection (looked like all pristine brand new albums too), but more  than that he had a book. It was a book called “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock”. My copy pictured below.

Encofrock

This book is pure rock music gold. I know this because this particular edition can be bought second hand for between $75 US and $3000 US. That second number was not a typo.

I read it from cover to cover. I read about groups i already liked. I read about groups i didn’t know I was about to like. I read about groups whose albums i wouldn’t buy till decades later.

My biggest revelation about reading all this musical information what that it stuck. I simply remembered most of what i read; dates that albums were released, complete discographies of classic rock groups, and band lineups for same.

if you are into classic rock and have any kind of record collection you want this book. you need this book. get a copy, you will thank me later.

Having said that you need a specific version of this book. If you go to Amazon you’ll find the “fifth edition”, the “6th edition”  or the “7th edition”. But if the “fifth edition is any indication of the way the book content was going, you can save your money. I have a copy of the fifth, but the  edition i’m raving about is  either the second or the third. it says “New Edition” so  i think it’s the second, the copyright date is 1976. The photo of the book above is the one you want.

[later: I think i found both the 2nd and 3rd, so i’ll update this blog when they come in.]

As good as the book is, it does omit  Canadian groups; Lighthouse, Stampeders, April Wine, Rush, Gordon Lightfoot and Heart (who were thought to be Canadian at one point), but does include Neil Young. There is a book called “Heart of Gold” which is a great history of Canadian music, worth having  if you like Canadian groups. Subsequent editions of the  encyclopedia  included the Canadian content, but sucked in other ways.

Fast forward a few years and we had to move again to Edmonton. Because army brat. one night when hanging out with a few of my sister’s friends (i had none of my own), one particular guy (that’s you Brian F.) (and his friend, whose name i think was Mike) started talking about music.

When i start talking about classic rock, i’m pretty much non-stop. friends just roll their eyes now, but at the table we were sitting around that night i had a captive audience. My sister told me a few days later that Mike couldn’t believe how much i knew about music (he was referring to classic rock of course).

At one point Brian asks me what i think about the group Yes.  I could tell by the way he asked that it was his favourite group. I told him that the only song i really knew was their song Roundabout (it’s off the Fragile album if you wanted some context) . I said i liked the song but for the most part i was  unfamiliar with progressive music.

Of course i told them my favourite group was T.REX but as i’ve come to get used to  that elicits blank stares from most people, that night wasn’t any different.

My answer seemed to satisfy him, but later we would talk more and more about music he introduced me to progressive music through his favourite group. he tried to get me to Genesis (in their progrock days) but that didn’t stick (sorry Brian, still no)

Anyway, one day his mom drove us to Edmonton public library.

I don’t know what it’s like now but at one point it had the most traffic of any library in North America. It was on one end of the LRT (University of Alberta was the other end at the time). It had 3 or 4 floors of to it.

One floor was dedicated entirely to music. If you’ve ever been to Sam the Record Man in Toronto (the one with the two huge neon signs that looked like spinning vinyl, you know the size i’m talking about. This was X 4. It. Was. Huge.

You were allowed to take out 10 albums at a time. Brian walked me through the process of getting my library card and the library in general. Kid in a candy store. 🙂

On the way there, Brian was riding shotgun, i was in the back seat and  Brian turned around to me and said “she’s musically informed by the way”  referring to his mom this was a term he coined with the obvious meaning.

I was impressed. none of my other friend’s (in the last place i lived)  mom’s could make that claim.

Since then i’ve only run into 3 people (one of my bosses from work, one person i used to work with years ago, and  my wife) who could make that claim (and not to toot my own horn) but they still have a ways to go 🙂

 

The Slider

After bringing over my copy of Electric Warrior to a friends place and playing it for him, he seemed indifferent.

The only thing i can think of is that i had something he didn’t, because next time i’m over he wanted to play me his copy of The Slider. So i returned the favour and really didn’t listen to it while it played. Of course later I went down to Sam The Record Man and ordered my own copy pictured below.

TheSider

The Slider (1972) is the next T.REX album after Electric Warrior (1971). it’s their third album. it is much more “produced” then Electric Warrior. The cover photo is of the singer/songwriter/guitar player of T.REX, Marc Bolan. The liner notes say that the photo was taken by Ringo Starr (millennials: he was one of The Beatles). But later information and probably not that well known, was that T.REX producer, Tony Visconti (also David Bowie’s producer for some albums) took the original photo. It was taken during (afaik) the making of the T.REX documentary Born To Boogie, directed by Ringo Starr.

i originally didn’t know any of the songs on the album and it’s another album I’ve played more than a thousand times (that’s more than one zero zero zero (1000) for you millennials).

The original releases of both those albums came in gatefold sleeves, but re-issues used a single sleeve. I have several editions of this album also.

Do i like this one better than Electric Warrior? ooh, that’s a tough one. my “desert island” pick probably wouldn’t be either one of these two (see the reason in my next entry).  I would definitely put this in my top 10 album list.

Almost all the of the T.REX albums i’m  going to talk about are on Spotify.

Electric Warrior

So my blogging cohorts (i’m looking at *YOU*   JulieOnwards decided to up the and ante increase the blogs we had to write a month to 3, AND we have to include an image in one of them.  And  Darcie  agreed.

Ok…Game on.

A long time ago a friend of mine told me I would probably like a group called “T.REX”.  At the time my three favourite groups (no hating) where KISS, Black Sabbath, and ABBA. In that order.

Each one of those choices will have it’s own blog (later ‘cause i’m inspired to crank out music related blogs for a while)

I had as much interest in listening to music outside of my comfort zone as having a complete collection of disco albums (although disco as it’s known today didn’t exist then). Oh, i will rant about disco later. don’t worry.

So I didn’t think about it again for about 2 years. And then a disco version of “Bang  A Gong” (a T.REX song) by a group called Witch Queen played on one of our local radio stations. It sounded vaguely familiar and it wasn’t long after that i heard the real version by T.REX. I remembered my friend had mentioned this group so i thought i would pick up the album it was on. second hand of course, i wasn’t about to put out full price for an album i wasn’t sure of. i didn’t take any musical chances back then. but i did want to check out the group.

I used to frequent a store called “Used Grooves’ that sold second hand vinyl albums. Every saturday i would go through every single record bin they had. Every saturday for a couple of years. A lot of the albums that i saw on a regular were Led Zeppelin’s first three albums, Babe Ruth’s first three albums, Fleetwood Mac albums,  Thor’s “Keep the Dogs Away”, and T.REX’s “Electric Warrior”.

Electric Warrior

I was pretty sure they’d have a copy of it for something like $1.95 CAN. I went down to the store, went to the “T” section…and it wasn’t there. In retrospect i can see this was foreshadowing. T.REX albums were notoriously hard to find in Canada.

They had a “remaindered” bin in the centre of the small store. albums that didn’t sell or hung around too long. as a last resort i checked in the “T” section. and there it was. i got it for $0.50. Image above is the that album (i put a plastic sleeve on it a few years after).

Back then i used to listen to every album i just bought on headphones. very rarely did i not use headphones. The reason is, my first experience with headphones was listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”. So yeah, i was spoiled for headphones early on 🙂

The very first song on the first side of the album (vinyl, remember) is a song called “Mambo Sun”.

It. Blew. Me. Away.

right then and there, my favourite group was T.REX. sure I bought the album for “Bang A Gong” but that first song did it for me. i was hooked. and i had it bad. yes, the song i bought it for was good…but that first song. my EEG’s would have been off the chart. my spine tingled. it would influence my musical choices from then till now.

i would be very surprised if i’ve played that album less than a thousand times. i probably played it 5 or 6 times that first night. i know every note on it. last year on Record Store Day i bought a die cut cover version of it. I listen to the album probably once a month.

Having said all that, it’s not my favourite T.REX album. it has a special place because it’s my first T.REX album, but not my favourite…stay tuned.

Record Store Day

I’m back from processing my orders/finds from Record Store Day 2018. I actually got up “early” on a weekend to go 🙂

My three favourite bands are T.REX (be a longer post about them later),  Jethro Tull, and Deep Purple/Rainbow. yes, all British bands. 

I was able to get limited editions of all of them.

Other bands I collect are Hawkwind (which it seems very few people ever heard of), and Uriah Heep. yup, British bands there, too. See a theme? With the exception of Jazz and some Canadian bands (I’m from the Great White North) most north american music sucks dead bunnies. loud. I got lucky and got Record Store Day editions also.

Today. Was. A. Good. Day. 🙂

I also picked up a remastered “Dark Side of The Moon”. If that title means nothing to you don’t worry, just means you  know practically nothing when it comes to music…and probably never will.

A colleague at work introduced me to Sigur Rós and  I found the #RecordStoreDay album with “Olsen Olson” on it. They are an Icelandic band with  very unique sound. I’m also a big fan of #Pristine a Norwegian (my kin 🙂 ) Blues/rock band. Nothing from them today though.